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A system of shared autonomous vehicles for Chicago: Understanding the effects of geofencing the service


Gurumurthy, Krishna Murthy; Auld, Joshua; Kockelman, Kara


With autonomous vehicles (AVs) still in the testing phase, researchers and planners must resort to simulation techniques to explore possible futures regarding shared and automated mobility. An agent-based discrete-event transport simulator, POLARIS, is used in this study to simulate travel in the 20-county Chicago region with a shared AV (SAV) mobility option. Using this framework, the effect of an SAV fleet on system performance when constrained to serve within geofences is studied under four distinct scenarios: service restricted to the city, to the city plus suburban core, to the core plus exurban areas, and to the entire region along with the choice of dynamic ridesharing (DRS) versus solo travel in an SAV. Results indicate that service areas need a balanced mix of trip generators and attractors, and an SAV fleets empty VMT (eVMT) can be noticeably reduced through suitable geofencing and DRS. Geofences can also help lower response times, reduce systemwide VMT across all modes, and ensure uniform access to SAVs. DRS is most useful in lowering VMT and %eVMT that arises from sprawled land development, but with insufficient demand to share rides, savings from the use of geofences is higher. Geofences targeting neighborhoods with high trip density bring about low response times and %eVMT, but fleet sizes in these regions need to be designed for uniformly low response times throughout a large region, as opposed to maximizing vehicle use in a 24-hour day.